Washington may soon have a higher education fund. Currently three budgets have been proposed to increase funding for EWU.
On April 24 a decision will be made on exactly how much funding EWU will receive. “It’s a very good year for higher education,” said EWU’s director of government relations Jeff Gombosky.
The state is currently proposing $9 million in additional funding that will allow for an increase of anywhere between 446 to 900 full-time equivalent or FTE students.
The house suggested an increase in funding that would permit an increase of 900 FTE students.
The senate is recommending a funding increase that would provide for 738 FTE students and Gov. Christine Gregoire advised an increase of funding that would support 446 additional FTE students.
Gregoire’s budget proposal would add 242 FTE students in 2006 and 204 FTE students in 2007.
22,000 to 26,000 additional FTE students are expected to seek higher education by 2010.
“This budget proposal is a good first step toward reshaping the public higher education system in Washington. We need to become more cost-effective in light of the 26,000 additional students who will be seeking access to our system between now and 2010,” Jordan said.
Currently EWU is over-enrolled by 806 FTE students and isn’t receiving additional funding for the extra students. “We feel this is a solid start toward addressing the state’s shortfall in FTE student funding,” President Stephen Jordan said.
While the state funds fishing and grades K-12, it doesn’t currently fund higher education.
Gombosky said that he felt that creating the fund is a step in the right direction for higher education.
Last year EWU requested additional funding for 900 students and hopes it is approved, “We want to make sure everyone has access to higher education,” Gombosky said.
Part of the funding would go to an increase in the standard of living for faculty.
The higher education proposal coincides with a planned 6 percent increase in tuition fees at EWU. A 7 percent increase in tuition is proposed for the University of Washington and Washington State University. Community and technical colleges would receive a tuition increase of 5 percent.
The budget will affect other factors of life as well. An 80 cent increase on tax on cigarettes is proposed, as well as an increase of one dollar per-liter tax on alcohol.
These are part of the senate’s new budget proposal that would raise 517 million dollars in the next two years.